Skip to main content

Armed Forces: Manpower

Volume 487: debated on Monday 26 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 12 January 2009, Official Report, column 17, what the evidential basis is for his statement that there has been an overall improvement in recent times; and if he will place in the Library all relevant figures on harmony guidelines. (248398)

[holding answer 19 January 2009]: Maintaining Harmony helps to relieve the stress and burden on our armed forces and their families. Consequently, the Service Chiefs expend considerable effort in increasing intervals between operational tours intervals and maintaining the Harmony Guidelines. As I stated in the House on 12 January 2009, breaches of the Harmony Guidelines have decreased, albeit not as quickly as I would have hoped for, but I am confident that the trend is heading in the right direction and that the Service Chiefs have measures in place to monitor and address the breaches while maintaining operational capability. The first table following gives an indication of mean unit tour intervals, which shows that the Royal Artillery, Royal Signals and the Royal Logistic Corps units are suffering greater commitment than most. However, the unit tour interval does not reflect the degree of trickle posting of personnel through these units or how much separation an individual incurs.

Average tour interval

2007

2008

September

October

November

December

January

February

March

April

May

June

Infantry

23

22

22

23

23

23

23

27

27

24

RAC

24.1

24

24

26

26

26

26

26

26

25

RA

19.1

18.5

18.5

18.5

18.5

18.5

18.5

21

21

21

RE

26.9

26.9

26.9

26.9

26.9

26.9

26.9

26.9

26.9

26.9

R SIGNALS

19.6

19.6

19.6

19.6

19.6

19.6

19.6

19.6

19.6

19.6

RLC

15

15

15

15

15

15

15

15

15

15

The second table identifies the level of separation (Harmony), which incorporates all activities, such as training, support to operations and courses that take service personnel away from their family and friends.

The current levels of Individual Harmony show that:

Less than 1 per cent. of Royal Navy/Royal Marines personnel were in breach of the single service guidelines.

Owing to the introduction of the Joint Personnel Administration system, it is not possible at present to identify the exact level of breach of the Harmony Guidelines in the Army. Validated data will not be available until January 2010 but, for administrative purposes, the percentage is currently being held at 10.3 per cent. the last figure in which we can have confidence before the introduction of the new system. However, every effort is being made by all levels of the chain of command to ensure that soldiers are not overly committed.

The level of RAF breaches shows a significant drop from 9.4 per cent. to 6.1 per cent. The degree of change has been brought about by an amendment to the reporting criteria. The RAF Harmony Guideline has changed from 140 days separation in a 12-month period to 280 days in a 24-month period. Without increasing the level of separation commanders now have greater flexibility to deploy personnel on career courses, education and adventure training without breaking the Harmony Guideline.

Percentage of total personnel who have breached Individual Harmony

RN

Army

RAF

2002-03

Q1

<1

1

5.3

2002-03

Q2

<1

1

5.4

2002-03

Q3

<1

1

5.1

2002-03

Q4

<1

1

5.0

2003-04

Q1

<1

1

6.8

2003-04

Q2

<1

1

6.2

2003-04

Q3

<1

1

6.2

2003-04

Q4

<1

18.1

5.4

2004-05

Q1

<1

17.0

3.6

2004-05

Q2

<1

16.8

3.8

2004-05

Q3

<1

15.5

3.6

2004-05

Q4

<1

15.5

3.9

2005-06

Q1

<1

15.6

4.1

2005-06

Q2

<1

15.3

4.1

2005-06

Q3

<1

15.1

4.2

2005-06

Q4

<1

14.5

3.9

2006-07

Q1

<1

14.0

2.9

2006-07

Q2

<1

13.4

1.7

2006-07

Q3

<1

12.4

5.2

2006-07

Q4

<1

10.3

6.2

2007-08

Q1

<1

10.3

6.7

2007-08

Q2

<1

10.3

9.2

2007-08

Q3

<1

10.3

10

2007-08

Q4

<1

10.3

9.2

2008-09

Q1

<1

10.3

9.4

2008-09

Q2

<1

210.3

36.1

1 No record.

2 This is a holding figure as there is currently insufficient data held on JPA—this should become available in January 2010.

3 This reflects the changes in the reporting baseline—the RAF Harmony Guidelines has changed from 140-/12 to 280/24 and is now reported against a 0 level threshold.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many full-time equivalent (a) military and (b) civilian personnel are employed at the headquarters of each UK-based regional brigade. (250084)

The information requested is shown in the following table:

Brigade

Military posts

Civilian posts

15 (North East) Brigade

46

46

42 (North West) Brigade

33

53

51 (Scottish) Brigade

34

47

2 (South East) Brigade

26

44

43 (Wessex) Brigade

34

59

145 (South) Brigade

33

42

49 (East) Brigade

40

39

143 (West Midlands) Brigade

47

56

160 (Wales) Brigade

36

56

38 (Irish) Brigade

100

171

Military numbers include posts filled by non regular permanent staff and full-time reserve service personnel working alongside regular Army personnel.

Civilian numbers include some posts which are filled by contracted personnel who are not civil servants. Some of these posts may not be currently filled.

38 (Irish) Brigade figures are not in line with a typical regional brigade pending the full implementation of Northern Ireland normalisation plans.